Have you ever wondered what sort of dog James Bond would own? The answer to that question is found in the movie Cats & Dogs
, now available on DVD and VHS tapes. The Cold War between canines and felines has moved from the living room to the silver screen back to the living room in rentals across the country.
In the Warner Bros. movie, Butch, an Anatolian shepherd, stands in the way of a fluffy white Persian (with the unlikely name of Mr. Tinkles) and his plan to conquer the world. The film writers apparently did their homework: In the world of dogs, the Anatolian would make a great agent. Originally bred in Turkey, they are considered among the best guard dogs in the world by the American Kennel Club.
The movie required the participation of 33 cats and 27 dogs, as well as the artistry and technology of animatronics (electronic animal puppets) and computer graphics. The animal trainers, led by veteran animal trainer Boone Narr, began by deciding how much of a particular scene a real animal could play. They turned to puppets if a scene was too dangerous. These animatronics may only form part of the animal – as in jaws during some of the close-up scenes. These puppets can be controlled by electronic signals during scenes that could harm a real animal. If a scene was too difficult to finish with puppets, visual effects were used to complete the scene.
The movie is sure to raise the ire of true cat fanciers. Cats are portrayed as manipulative and evil, bent on subjugating the world. Thousands of years ago, dogs befriended man not by joining him in some prehistoric cave, but by liberating the human race from the bondage of cats. Dogs have been protecting us ever since. They only pretend to be obedient because we feed, house and generally take care of them. This leaves dogs free to devote their time to foiling the felines' scheme to take over the world.
A scientist, played by Jeff Goldblum, works to find a cure for people who are allergic to dogs; refusing to allow such an abomination to happen, Mr. Tinkles decides it is time for cats to fulfill their destiny by eliminating dogs and enslaving humans. A master organizer and manipulator, Mr. Tinkles marshals a network of agents, including Ninja Cats, from the outlawed Feline Liberation Front, to wage his war of aggression.
Defending the cause of canines and humans is Butch, a senior agent of the Canine Special Forces, and an eager little puppy
named Lou. Alec Baldwin plays Butch's voice. Other starring "voices" include Sean Hayes (Mr. Tinkles); Jon Lovitz, Tobey Maguire, Joe Pantoliano, Michael Clarke Duncan and Susan Sarandon.
Dog lovers and cat haters may well argue that the film simply dramatizes the essential truth about cats – they rule the household with an iron paw. Either way, the film will fire up the debate over which is the best pet.Does It Have to be this Way?
So which pet is on top? In the United States, a number of organizations have tried to pin down the answer with mixed results. From the Gallup Poll to the pet industry, the numbers show dogs are dominant in the hearts of Americans, but cats may be closing the gap. Find out which pet is top dog by seeing the story The Truth about Dogs and Cats
But does the movie dramatize what occurs nightly in our homes? Are dogs and cats natural enemies, fated to fight each other for dominance and our affection? The answer depends on the particular dog and cat. To learn how dogs and cats can get along, read the article Cats Living with Dogs